by Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, CCMS, LMHC, FAND @The Running Nutritionist®
February is one of my favorite months of the year!
Celebrating all things pink, red, and filled with love for Valentine’s Day and the 57th annual National Heart Month! I also love February as it is a time to honor some of our great Presidents and Black History Month to celebrate the achievements of African Americans and their central role in U.S. history.
Heart Disease is #1!
In the past year, we have all heard about the deadly COVID virus; however did you know heart disease is still the #1 killer in the US?
According to the American Heart Association, on average, someone dies of cardiovascular heart disease (CVD) every 36 seconds in the US, about 2,380 deaths from each day! The prevalence for high blood pressure is THE leading risk factor is the highest in the world for African Americans!
FYI facts—studies suggest the most common time for a heart attack to occur is in the morning when blood platelets are thicker, which leads to abnormal clotting, heart disease and stroke. Most prevalent times for a heart attack are Monday mornings followed by Saturdays.
Did you also know that Feb. 5, was National Wear Red Day as a part of the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Go Red for Women initiative? It also just happened to fall on the same day as my ½ way through life birthday, so heart health is especially important to me now more than ever! Not only do 233,000 women die annually from cardiovascular disease, the signs and symptoms are different from men. In addition to chest tightness and pain down the arm, women tend to experience nausea and GI distress which tends to get overlooked since so many suffer from stress related gut distress.
We need to take charge--EMPOWER ourselves with simple steps like diet and exercise towards preventing and managing this deadly disease. Just think, we can reduce our risk of heart attack and stroke by 54% with just 30 minutes of exercise each day and a heart healthy diet.
While we cannot change our genes, cultural risk factors or gender driven vulnerability for heart disease, we CAN reduce our risk for heart disease by changing our lifestyle factors, especially diet and exercise!
A plant-based diet has been shown to reduce the risk of heart failure by 42% in those without a history of heart disease. With a dietary foundation of whole grains, plant-based protein sources like tofu, tempeh, beans, legumes, fruits and of course sprouts, we have a fighting chance against heart disease and other chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, metabolic disease, and cancer.
This month’s featured sprouts, Fullei Fresh Beet Sprouts are not only beautiful in color but naturally bursting with fibers, protein, antioxidants, and nitrates, all heart healthy! Nitrates are a compound that when consumed, the body converts into nitrous oxide (NO) a molecule that improves oxygen and blood flow throughout the body! Research suggests that beets can improve sports performance. Just ask any athlete who has been including beet juice and beet powders, an evidenced based popular trending supplement mix in, can now add Fullei Fresh Beet Sprouts to their mix for the NO boost for improving endurance and intensity levels during exercise.
This month’s recipes are simple sweet strategies to give your heart a NO boost! Vegan, gluten free and gorgeous in color, you and your sweetheart can celebrate love everyday with these delicious treats!
Sprouted Beet Cheesecake
Vegan and Gluten free
1/3 cup Earth Balance vegan butter diced into small pieces, slightly softened.
1 cup Mama’s Blend Almond Flour
2/3 cup Bob’s Red Mill Oats
2 Tbls Monkfruit sugar granules
1 tsp Harmonizing Sweet Blend (locally sourced Chef created seasoning blend of cinnamon and other pie spices, can use cinnamon and nutmeg mix)
2 cups cashews, soaked overnight, drained.
1/3 cup organic Spectrum non-GMO vegetable shortening.
2 Tbls Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup Coconut Secret Coconut Nectar
½ cup Fullei Fresh Beet Sprouts, leave 1 Tbls. for garnish.
Soak cashews overnight or for a few hours until softened, drain.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Combine crust ingredients and with gloved hands or exceptionally clean hands, rub all the ingredients together until fully mixed.
Press crust ingredients into bottom of greased glass pie dish.
Bake crust until just brown about 20-25 minutes. Cool.
In a food processor, blend filling ingredients until creamy and smooth.
Spoon the cheesecake ingredients into cooled pie crust, wrap and freeze overnight or a few hours.
Remove from freezer. Garnish with beet sprouts. Slice and Serve with Sprouted beet ice cream.
Sprouted Beet Ice Cream
Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 4-6 (or 8-12 as dollop for Sprouted Beet Pie)
¼ cup cashews soaked overnight, drained.
1 cup steamed beets, cooled, diced large chunks.
32 oz. plant based (or Greek if not vegan) yogurt.
1 tsp vanilla
½ cup Fullei Fresh Beet Sprouts, leave 1 Tbsp. for garnish.
Soak cashews overnight or for a few hours until soft, drain.
Peel and steam beets. Dice into large chunks. Cool.
Blend yogurt, vanilla, beets, and Fullei Fresh Beet Sprouts until smooth.
Place mixture into ice cream machine for approximately 20-25 minutes until frozen. If you do not have an ice cream machine, place into container, and freeze until desired consistency.
Serve in martini glasses or small bowls. Garnish with a pinch of Fullei Fresh Beet Sprouts. Enjoy!
For more information about National Heart Health, Heart attack stats and heart disease risk factors visit the CDC, American Heart Association and HHS Office of Minority Health Websites:
For more information on Black History Month:
May you have lots of love and joy, your heart be filled with love in February and beyond!
Meet Lisa Dorfman, MS, RD, CSSD, CCMS, LMHC, FAND
Known internationally as The Running Nutritionist®, Lisa is an award-winning leader to industry, academia, the public & press for more than 3 decades. Lisa has built a global integrative culinary sports nutrition & performance private practice & corporate consulting business working with Olympian athletes, and prestigious luxury resorts such as Ritz Carlton, Sandals & Norwegian Cruise Lines. Lisa designs, writes, and speaks about delicious dishes, menus and diets and travels worldwide sharing the “gospel” of good food, fresh tastes, and plant-based cuisine. Her passion for food, fitness, emotional balance and for life is contagious.
A ’19 President’s Council National Excellence in Practice Award Recipient, Lisa is a Licensed Nutritionist/ Registered Dietitian, Board Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics, Board Certified Professional Counselor, Certified Chef, Certified USAT&F & USA Triathlon Coach, Certified Reiki Practitioner, Certified Horticulturist & Fellow of The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics. She served as the ’08 US Sailing Olympic Team Nutritionist for Beijing Olympics & Nutrition Expert for the Zumba Plate® program.
Her recipes are inspired by collaborations with some of the top chefs at Sandals Resorts, Ritz Carlton, Culinary Vegetable Institute/Chef’s Garden; restaurants, spas, wellness/fitness-focused programs as instructor at Johnson and Wales University & Miami Culinary Institute, & member of prestigious organizations such as Les Dames d ‘Escoffier, American Culinary Foundation, and the James Beard Foundation. She is Chef Alliance Director for Slow Food Miami.
The author of 8 books, Lisa has appeared on 20/20, Dateline, Good Morning America Health, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC and ESPN & has been featured in numerous publications including: USA Today, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Men’s Fitness, Outside & Runners World magazines. In her spare time, Lisa has competed in more than 35 marathons (PR 2:52:32), Ironman USA Lake Placid, and hundreds of running and multisport races and was a member of TeamUSA at the ’04 World Long Distance Duathlon Championships.